March 23, 2021
Dear students, colleagues, alumni, and friends,
Students engaging in class activities outside
Community members being vaccinated in Maxcy
Athletes practicing on the turf field in the sunshine
Staff safely having lunch with their colleagues
Faculty providing engaging instruction and safely providing hands-on classroom activities
These are just a glimpse of things that I have witnessed over the last week which have sparked hope and an immense sense of pride. I am so proud of the many ways that our campus community has come together to get us to these moments. I will never again take for granted the ability to gather together in person, face-to-face.
When we began our spring break last year, I could not have imagined that one year later we would still be responding to the COVID-19 health pandemic. It has been an unprecedented time of loss, stress and upheaval in our nation, and in our community. Many of you have experienced unfathomable losses. However, hope is emerging—hope which is fueled by our low case numbers and the broadening eligibility for vaccinations.
On this anniversary month of our initial response to the pandemic, there are so many people I want to thank for their resilience, their sacrifices and their extraordinary efforts. The list of individuals continues to grow daily. Right now, I’d like to collectively recognize all that you have done, in your own ways, to get us through this difficult time:
Students – Over the course of the last year, you have been asked to make significant sacrifices, including missing out on typical college memories and milestones. Your actions have kept your classmates, our campus and our local community safe. You have shown extraordinary responsibility and fortitude, and you make us proud every day.
Staff – Many of you are on the frontlines of our emergency planning and response, whether creating processes and protocols, ensuring our facilities are properly cleaned, providing food and sustenance, and even pooling saliva for testing. You are the “quiet heroes,” but please know, I see you and appreciate you all.
Faculty – You were asked to quickly pivot to virtual instruction, which you did with such grace. And while extremely challenging to do in such a short time frame, you maintained a high-quality learning experience for our students. You continue to shine as scholars. Your creativity inspires me.
Alumni and Friends – Near and far, you continue to look out for your fellow Bears. You have reached out to show your concern for our campus and offered your support through gifts of your time or resources. You are in the trenches in healthcare and education; you are confronting realities of the pandemic. You are shining stars.
I have never been prouder of our Potsdam community. The strengths you have shown, along with this new and palpable sense of hope, will get us through this pandemic—together.
Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.